When my grandmother (my father's mom) died, we went through her things, and this old broken frame is one of the items that I took. In it were photos of my mother and her five children. We five were Grandma's only grandchildren, because my dad's only sister married relatively late in life and we never had any first cousins on his side.
That's me top-left, in 6th grade--with an awful hair-do and a string of pearls. And please check out
my older brother's 'do, top-right: Justin Beiber ain't got nothin' on him!
But the truth is that she was a survivor of the depression, whose well-to-do father lost everything in the big crash of 1929. He never recovered financially and became a broken man. Grandma's mother, a tough, no-nonsense matriarch and mother of six, got a nursing degree and became her family's primary bread-winner. Grandma was the oldest of her siblings, her father's favorite. She had been given a roadster of her own and was ready to start college at Bryn Mawr--she was just totally living the life of Riley--when her world came crashing down. She, too, eventually went to nursing school. And she, too, eventually became the primary bread-winner of her family, when her husband died and left her with two small children, a six-year-old boy (my dad) and a two-year-old girl. For the rest of her life, money was always very tight.
So the truth was that everything Grandma owned was not the newest and the best. This is what the back of that picture frame I inherited looked like.
Just yesterday I was thinking about that frame, which I knew was hiding somewhere amidst all the precious mementos that had survived the culling process when we made the move from NH to VA about a year ago. I have five children, too, just like my mom; and I thought it would be adorable to fill this frame with photos of them--my favorites from their toddler years, when they all posed wearing the same white sailor suit.
When I found the frame, which was in a trunk down in the basement storage area of our new house, I kind of laughed. It probably should have gone into the dumpster when we moved, I thought. But I never could have done that. It was my grandma's. We were everything to her, and that little broken frame was a symbol of her love for us.
It took a little bit of engineering to get the back of the frame in some kind of working order (truly, what it needs is a bit of soldering, but that's not going to happen--so duct tape it is!); to keep the broken piece from flopping, I added some cardboard strips for support. (Hey, I was joking before, but perhaps I am an engineer!)